Honda confirms 17th U.S. death due to Takata air bag rupture

by SpeedLux
Takata air bag recall, Airbag Recall

Honda Motor said on Saturday it has confirmed a 17th U.S. death connected to a faulty Takata airbag inflator.

The Japanese automaker said that following a joint inspection with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it confirmed a faulty airbag inflator was to blame for the August 20 crash of a 2002 Honda Civic that resulted in the death of a driver in Mesa, Arizona.

The problem which leads in rare instances to airbag inflators rupturing and sending metal fragments flying led the largest automotive recall in U.S. history and is connected to 15 U.S. deaths in Honda vehicles and two in Ford vehicles since 2009. Over 290 injuries are also tied to defective Takata inflators and at least 26 deaths globally.

Honda said the 2002 Civic had been going through a recall since December 2011 for replacement of the driver’s frontal airbag inflator, while the passenger’s frontal airbag inflator was recalled in 2014.

Honda sent over 15 mailed recall notices during eight years to registered owners of the vehicle prior to the crash and made other attempts to contact owners. The driver killed was not the registered owner and Honda said it was uncertain if the driver knew about the unrepaired recalls.

The previous fatality confirmed was the U.S. incident in June 2018 which involved the death of a driver after the crash of a 2002 Honda Civic in Buckeye, Arizona.

The Takata recalls cover about 100 million inflators among 19 significant automakers globally, including about 63 million inflators in the United States.

NHTSA says the reason behind inflator explosions that can emit deadly fragments is propellant breaking down following long-term exposure to high-temperature fluctuations and humidity.

In August, Honda agreed to pay $85 million to settle an investigation by the majority of U.S. states into its use of faulty Takata inflators.

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